How to plan your finances in 5 easy steps

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10 Christmas Crackers

MoneyPlus Features Team

17th January 2014 at 5:16pm

Have you noticed how easy it is for good intentions to stay as just that? Many of us know we need to sort out our finances. We know we need to make sure we’ve enough planned for retirement or to put something away for the kids’ university fees. But we also know we should sort out our credit cards, check our savings are earning a decent rate and change our gas supplier.

When faced with a barrel of financial responsibilities it can all feel a bit overwhelming. It’s often so confusing that we tend to put things off or focus on the quick wins rather than the grand plan.

When faced with a barrel of financial responsibilities it can all feel a bit overwhelming. It’s often so confusing that we tend to put things off or focus on the quick wins rather than the grand plan.A 5 step plan for a productive night in 

Like any grand plan it can benefit from a bit of early mapping out. There’s things you can do from the comfort of your own home to get started, and best of all it can be fun too. Here’s a really easy way to work out your priorities and there are just 5 simple steps:

1) Set aside time when you won’t be disturbed. Turn off the TV, put the ipad and phone away (it’s a good idea to perhaps open a bottle of wine at this stage).

2) Get a large piece of paper and divide it into four with the following headings:

  • Need to do now
  • Want to do now
  • Need to do in the future
  • Want to do in the future

3) The rules are that you (or your partner too) get a stack of post-its and write down all the major things you want or need to do. Think of both the things that worry you and the things that really inspire you.

4) You then have to agree under which heading to put each one. Sounds easy but that’s when the fun starts.

5) And for a bonus point, try and pick out the top two in each section.

It’s pays to talk finances

I recently suggested this process to a colleague, he and his wife undertook this 5 step challenge earlier this month. He found that the ‘come back to it later’ pile was the largest for a while, but it worked. They now have a clearer sense of their priorities – they’ve agreed them and that it feels good to have some focus. They saw where the gaps are and what they need to do next.

He added that they now have a better sense of each other’s goals and that’s what planning as a family is all about. Talk can be cheap but the dividends could prove profitable – so why not give it a shot? Talk can be cheap but the dividends could prove profitable – so why not give it a shot? Just don’t forget the wine (unless you’re taking part in a Dryathlon this January)!

For further guidance and help with your grand plan take a look at the Money Advice Service website as they’ve some handy online tools.

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